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A Kindred Spirit: This nana prefers wrinkles over tattoos

The next earlier A Kindred Spirit: Starry Nights

By Teresa Bell Kindred

I just finished reading an article about a 64-year-old grandmother who got her first tattoo 19 years ago (a butterfly on her back) on a dare from her ex-son-in-law. Since then she has four more tattoos, and by the way, she prefers to call it "body art." It seems tattoos are no longer just for soldiers or the young. In fact, according to the article, one third of people getting tats these days are women and the age group that's growing the fastest is the 30 to 50 year olds.

If you been to the beach or a public swimming pool lately you've probably seen more tattoos than you ever wanted to see. I know I have. I try not to stare but I find myself scratching my head and thinking, "Do these people really think they look good with writing all over them?" And if you weigh three hundred pounds is it really a good idea to wear a thong and have tattoos drawing more attention to yourself?

Where are the fashion police when you need them, anyway?

I'm a conservative southern girl to the core and I think everyone on the beach and at the pool ought to dress more modestly than most do, for lots of reasons. I'm the mom of four boys and I can't tell you how many times I have looked at young women and wondered if their mothers knew what they were wearing (or not wearing). But another reason I feel that way is what my mom refered to as "horse sense." If only 5% of the population looks decent in a bikini then the other 95% are not eye candy.

I don't know how you feel about tattoos or body art, but I've never been one to keep my opinion to myself (just ask my children) and so just in case you wondered (which by now I don't think I've left you much guessing room) I don't like them. Yes, I realize they are a form of expressing yourself-call it free speech if you want to (in America we call everything that anyway).

Yes, I know that lots of good people have tattoos (some of them are related to me). I can love the person and not like everything about them. It's no different than saying I don't like green eye shadow or spiked hair. It's a matter of personal choice and if someone else thinks having ink stains all over you is attractive and wants to get one, go for it. Just don't expect me to be envious or impressed.

Call me old fashioned but I prefer that all the lines on my body get there naturally- through the aging process. I believe they are called wrinkles.I think God created everyone perfect and adding tattoos to perfection is like putting Christmas lights on the Mona Lisa. The painting is still beautiful but the lights look tacky and out of place.

I believe that less is more when it comes to improving our looks. If God creates us perfect,who are we to think we can improve on that anyway?

Now that I've vented to you I have to confess I haven't always thought this way. 30 years ago I thought I was too tall, too thin, and too flat-chested. I wanted to look like a Barbie doll. It took a long time for me to wise up and be happy in my own skin, but I'm glad I did.

Yes, Virginia, there are some benefits to getting older. I lived through what I refer to as my "stupid years" and now I'm happy being me and thankful every day for my health. What I look like isn't nearly as important as how I act and what I do. My grandmother always said, "pretty is as pretty does." Amen, Grandma. Amen.

Some interesting statistics about tattoos
  • In April 2005, more than 45 million people had at least one tattoo. (Pew Research Center)
  • In March 2005, The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology estimated 24 percent of the general U.S. population had at least one tattoo
In 2003, a Harris Poll and Harris Interactive found the following:
  • 17 percent of people with tattoos had thought about having a tattoo removed
  • 5 percent of those with tattoos had a tattoo covered up with a different design
  • 36 percent of those with tattoos were ages 25 to 29
  • 29 percent of adults with tattoos felt more rebellious
  • 17 percent of those with tattoos regretted getting them

About the author: Teresa Bell Kindred lives in Edmonton, Kentucky with her family. She is the author of several books including Mom:PHD: Leadership Skills for Moms. She is a public speaker and has spoken to several different women's groups in Columbia and Adair County. For 13 years she was a magazine columnist for Kentucky Living magazine. Presently she is a grant writer for Metcalfe County Schools and is working on another book. Visit her online at Teresa Bell Kindred...A Kindred Spirit to read more about her, purchase her books, or invite her to speak to your club or organization. Email her directly at

Nanahood, "An online community for grandmothers and moms"

This story was posted on 2009-10-11 13:32:16
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